HARTFORD, Conn. – Boston University junior goaltender Connor LaCouvee made his first start of the season on Friday night and turned in 28 saves to lead the No. 5/4 Terriers past the UConn Huskies, 2-1, in a Hockey East match-up in front of 5,383 at the XL Center. The Huskies got a third period power play goal from junior Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) in the loss.
UConn falls to 3-4-5 overall and 1-2-1 in Hockey East while the Terriers improve to 6-3-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the league. The two teams will wrap up their season series tomorrow night in Boston.
BU jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead and LaCouvee made it hold up, stopping 21 shots in the second and third period while allowing just the Naas goal on the way to his first win on the season. Senior Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) was in net for the Huskies and made 24 saves.
The Terriers outshot UConn 11-8 in the first period but the Huskies tipped the scales in the second and third putting plenty of offensive pressure on LaCouvee. Sophomore Jordan Greenway opened the scoring at 3:28 in the first, getting a deflection off a Husky defender to beat Nichols for a 1-0 lead. The Terriers struck at 16:01 to make it 2-0 as freshman Gabriel Chabot notched his first collegiate goal, proving to be the game-winner.
Naas cut the BU lead in half at 6:56 in the third, scoring on the Huskies sixth and final power play of the night. The junior forward was able to find the puck on the left wing off the rush and put it home before hitting the ice for his fifth on the season.
Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh – “I was certainly pleased with the effort and how hard I thought our team played tonight. It was a really good hockey game. They’re a great team and I think we are a great team. We just didn’t get the bounce we needed tonight. Their goaltender was excellent. I think that’s what it came down to. When you have two pretty good teams and both play pretty well, sometimes it’s just a bounce. Robby (Nichols) made some great saves, LaCouvee made some great saves. It was a good college hockey game and unfortunately we didn’t come out on top. I thought we showed a lot of character. I thought we prepared well all week and we performed well tonight but just didn’t get the result we were hoping for.”
BU improved their overall lead in the all-time series to 4-1-3 and are now 2-1-0 against the Huskies at the XL Center.
The Huskies scored their 13th power play goal of the season. UConn has scored on the power play in eight-straight games and has had a goal in nine of the 12 games.
Naas scored his fifth goal of the season, putting him behind Tage Thompson for second on the team in goals. It was his second power play goal of the season.
Kasperi Ojantakanen notched his sixth assist of the season while Benjamin Freeman got his fifth assist.
The loss drops UConn to 1-4-1 this season against ranked opponents and 0-2-0 against teams ranked in the top-five.
BU held an 11-8 edge on shots in the first period as both teams failed to score on their lone power play chances.
The Terriers got on the board 3:28 as Greenway picked-up his sixth on the season. The sophomore took a pass on the right half board from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and threw the puck on net, getting a deflection off an UConn defenseman’s skate as the puck took a bounce up and past Nichols.
BU made it 2-0 late in the first on Chabot’s first career goal. The freshman took a feed from Patrick Curry on the right wing and beat Nichols with a wrist shot to the far post at 16:01
The Huskies got 12 shots on LaCouvee in the second period but couldn’t solve the goaltender.
UConn had three power play chances in the power play, putting five shots on net but coming up short to send the game to the third, 2-0 BU.
UConn got their fifth power play chance of the night with 16 seconds left in the second on an interference call on Tommy Kelley, carrying it over to start the third.
The Huskies made it 2-1 finally finding pay dirt on their final power play at 6:56. Kasperi Ojantakanen (Helsinki, Finland) fed freshman Benjamin Freeman (Falmouth, Maine) up the middle on a break-out. Freeman dished to a hard charging Naas up the left wing and the junior just got his stick on the puck to beat LaCouvee before spilling to the ice.
UConn pulled Nichols with 50 seconds left in the third looking for the tying goal. Sophomore Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) got the best look in the closing seconds with a big slap shot from the point but Bobo Carpenter came up with the block.
The Huskies and Terriers are back at it tomorrow night from BU’s Agganis Arena. Opening face-off is slated for 7 pm.